Thursday, December 31, 2009

Closing Out 2009

I gave some thought about what to write for
this transition from one year to the next. In
the end it is clear that nothing political
was resolved in 2009 that we could close the
book on. If anything, most issues remain
unresolved and a few new ones have arisen.

For example, in my family our Social Security
income will be about $34 less per month in 2010
than it was in 2009, and that's before currency
devaluation because of inflation which has
not disappeared. We'll have roughly $400 less
because of increases in Medicare costs to us
(not counting the Blue Cross supplemental
cost increases). I'm not looking forward to
whatever medical care difficulties will be
introduced by the new health care laws passed
by the federal government.

About the only thing(s) that can be closed out
in 2009 are the three (the say things come in
3's and it certainly seems true in this case)
deaths of people I have been close to in my
life. I won't bother with details about two
of the individuals that readers here won't
be familiar with, but the most recent death
was a person I've written about (August 17)
in this publication before.

Alex Zelchenko died on the morning of December
24th 2009 at age 95. It appears that the
cancer tumor in his lung became infected,
leading to multiple organ failure and after
some days of lingering unconscious, he expired.
Alex was a perfect example of "pulling the
plug on grandma" not only once, but in his
case twice.

The one major improvement that seems to be
underway is that the beginnings of a political
awakening are evident. People need to become
more directly involved with governments at
all levels, to become more confrontational,
and vote the bad players out of office. That's
most of the career politicians in office today.
Tea parties are one thing, but without
translation into direct action on election day,
things like not voting a party line,
we'll have the same graft and corruption ongoing
in this community, state, and nation. Simply showing
up and voting isn't enough. Each of you needs to
put thought into how you vote.

We wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Travelures Wind Turbines

Will Jim Dellies ever cease to amaze us?



Two new wind turbines have been installed.

Bill Vajk

Merry Christmas You!

Merry Christmas You!

While on the subject, this is a Christian
community. Crystal Falls had a public event
this season with the word Christmas playing
a predominant role, as did Caspian.

Iron River stands alone in taking the secular
progressive posture of involving government
funds and then removing the name of the
Christmas holy day from the original name
for the celebration of "Christmas in Lights"
as it was called the first year (because
Julie Melchiori was out of town at the
moment the ads were written and placed in
the paper and on the radio.)

Because of the flap over the name the second
year, I publicly offered $100 towards the
maximum of $1000 that Iron River's DDA
provides annually to fund the advertising.

Frankly, as news starved as our outlets are
for local news it seems to me that advertising
costs could be zero if the event were covered
as a local news item, something that's done all
the time by Iron Mountain and Iron River
newspapers as well as our radio station WIKB,
and WLUC-TV channel 6. Why involve government
money in the first place? It seems to me that
as much sponsorship as local businesses provide
for other events, they would step up and take
care of the small amounts of money actually
involved in a Christmas season parade.

But then I'm not one of the "in crowd" in Iron
County, and the way they do things I'm glad
not to be. The only reason our Christmas in
Lights parade is actually called Holiday in
Lights is because people in the community
don't step up and assert control over our
events. The community allows such things to
happen, leaving the same people in charge of
everything. Those who do stuff for the
community are at least willing to put forth
some effort.

What can be done to encourage and interest
others in taking the reins of their own
fate and interests? Can we spread this
around a bit? This is the season of giving,
the right time to think about giving back
to the community in the coming year.

Bill Vajk

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Some Clarity

It has become clear that the government envisioned
by the founding fathers has been broken by the
dishonesty of our elected officials. The
difficulties can be boiled down to the simple
statement that our founding fathers relied heavily
on the honesty of elected officials to actually
represent the needs and wishes of those who
elected them to office.

We see now that the votes of two key US senators
on the undisclosed Senate health bill was bought
and paid for by $300 million and more in fixes
sent to their elected districts.

Cap and Trade, the other major piece of
legislation, will be similarly passed. These
two pieces of legislation essentially remake
the entire financial and political makeup of
the United States.

We elected a president in these United States
mainly with a wink and a smile and a promise
of undisclosed change. Carelessness by the
electorate is complicit in everything that's
happening. It has been said that in the US we
always get the government we deserve. It is a
harsh reality that so long as dishonesty is
as rampant as it presently is, I have to add
"and then some."

These elected and appointed people already have
a plan. Shortly before the next election,
scheduled for November 2010, the economic
situation will look rosy just past the election.
It is a larger version of what's going on in
Caspien, MI, the subject of an article just
a few days ago. As a city commissioner (Sabol)
said, "but this helps the residents."

Mr. Sabol, if you wanted to help the citizens
you'd lower local taxes, and the citizens would
help themselves in ways that are important to
them. For the most part they don't need indoor
tennis courts, and so forth.

Glenn Beck has been bringing to listener
attention to a small communist book/paper for
a while. It is called "The Coming Insurrection"
and while it can be purchased from Amazon it is
also available in several translations from the
original French on the world wide web. It is an
extremely difficult read.

What's telling about this work, near the end,
says, "The goal of any insurrection is to
become irreversible."

Clearly what we're seeing in the federal
government, and Caspien, is the makings of
irreversible change. The only excuse found for
Caspien's the ski chalet these days was to
move the functions of City Hall there. But
what of City Hall itself? That, in a sane
world, is what should have been fixed to
become more functional. The ski chalet should
never have been built, just as I predict that
the proposed new public buildings should not
be built.

On the federal level, economically similar
things, scaled up, are happening. The health
care plan being passed as this is written,
"card check" for union votes, cap and trade
for energy, are all designed to carry the US
into a socialism that the average citizen has
no familiarity. It will, much as European
socialist governments were, irreversible
without significant pain some decades
in the future.

It seems the only thing that can save the
America most of us know and love is the Tea
Party that isn't even a real political party.

You can find "The Coming Insurrection" at the
following locations:

http://tarnac9.wordpress.com/texts/the-coming-insurrection/

http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11879

Bill Vajk

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Great Place to Live

Iron County is a great place to live. One needs only
to look at the good news that constantly pepper the
Iron Mountain Daily News, the Iron County Reporter,
and WIKB, our local radio station.

Looking at a story on the cover of the Reporter for
December 16, 2009, we see that the city of Caspian,
in the first line of the article, has decided to
reduce the staff. The article goes on to mention
the termination of (possibly) an equipment operator.

And with the expected retirement of police Chief
Soderbloom, a part time officer will be hired, with
an anticipated savings of some $30,000.

But there are a couple of upside factors later in
the article to make people feel good and make them
forget about the information in the first part.

Caspien is planning an indoor tennis court facility,
two tennis courts, two indoor golf batting cages,
and the tennis courts can also be used for volleyball
or soccer! And maybe some maple boccie courts?

They're also going to have a Christmas decorating
contest (did you get that? Christmas decorating
contest when Iron River is so secular progressive
and politically correct that the word Christmas is
banned and the name is "the Holiday in Lights
Parade.") with prizes of $75, $50, and $25.

I think that's pretty good going for a community
that's reducing their workforce because of budget
shortfalls.

But I guess that building new municipal public
facility and having a Christmas decorating contest
will get the commissioners votes in the next few
elections. And too, people tend to forget the bad
news over time, even when the city offices were
moved from the brick town hall building into a
wood structure called the ski chalet.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, December 10, 2009

About that FOIA lawsuit earlier this year

I sued the City of Iron River over John Archocosky's
failure to respond to an FOIA request for justification
of the "research" fees the city wanted to charge me
for some information I requested.

The amount contested was $38.46.

The city, that is John Archocosky, failed to respond. I
provided several warnings of lawsuit to both John as well
as some members of the city council that I intended to
sue. Only after all alternatives were exhausted did I
actually bring lawsuit.

I won't discuss the details or outcome of the suit in this
article, but am bringing to everyone's attention that not
only did the Michigan Municipal League provide for the
defense of the city in the suit, but eventually the city
had to pay at least a portion of the costs for the legal
defense mounted, in the amount of $ 5000. Settling
with me at an early stage would have cost the taxpayers
a whole lot less.

A copy of the August 2009 Check Register Report is
available for the reader's review at

www.angelfire.com/planet/iron-river/payMML.pdf

Please see the underlined entry on page 2, check Number 23304.

With this recent history, has the city learned a lesson
or not? The near term future will let us know whether
or not the city's arrogance will lead us down the same
road again because once again I am being about to be
forced to bring suit against the city.

Bill Vajk

Saturday, November 28, 2009

From Apathy to Dependence

Some text about "The Fall of the Athenian Republic,"
that is often attributed to Professor Alexander Tyler
of the University of Edinburgh was written about
the time of our Revolutionary War, and states:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it
simply cannot exist as a permanent form of
government. A democracy will continue to exist
up until the time that voters discover that
they can vote themselves generous gifts from
the public treasury. From that moment on, the
majority always votes for the candidates who
promise the most benefits from the public
treasury, with the result that every democracy
will finally collapse due to loose fiscal
policy, which is always followed by a
dictatorship."


As a nation we seem to have arrived at this stage

"The average age of the worlds greatest
civilizations from the beginning of
history, has been about 200 years.
During those 200 years, these nations
always progressed through the following
sequence:

From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

Iron County seems to have missed out on the
earliest stages of this sequence because the
US, as a nation, progressed before this region
was settled with any significance.

The paradigm isn't absolutely fixed. It can, and
in the past, has been altered by the mere will
of the people. We are in the apathy to dependence
stage right now. John Archocosky and the Iron
River City Council determined that any program
of economic advance in must be self-sustaining
before being undertaken despite the fact that
literally nothing else in this county (and most
of the state, for that matter) is or has been for
some time. The simple fact is that anything worth
doing has a period of initial growth that needs care
and nurturing during the initial stages. There is no
project that shows profit on day 1.

Look at us. Our communities are unable to buy
so much as an occasional dogcatcher's van without
an outside grant of some sort. Grant seeking has
itself become a favorite local enterprise.

The challenge is to find leadership that keeps the
final transition "
dependence back into bondage"
from working in a community with an aging and
collapsing population. One of the presumptions
for economic progress is growth in population.
And that's achieved by providing opportunities,
by keeping home grown talent here, and bringing
in additional talent as needed.

Do we need to actively import leadership as well?

If we do, then perhaps we should be working on
that as a community. The sad fact, however, is
that at present we don't seem to have enough
leadership within the community to seek strong
leadership for the community.

Or do we?

Bill Vajk

For the source of the quotations above please see:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/athenian.asp

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Other Web Page

http://www.so-crooked.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Small County Political Games

Yesterday, November 20, 2009, I went to the Iron
County Sheriff's office to request copies of some
police reports that I need to complete a story I
am doing for this publication.

I was told that I had to make an FOIA request for
all police reports at the prosecutor's office.

Each entity, the sheriff and the prosecutor, are
independently elected. Their offices and budgets
are separate and independent. The sheriff is
responsible for his own FOIA requests. Shifting
the responsibility to the prosecutor's office
is a small county political game that we, the
public, have to put up with in Iron County. In
addition, in most jurisdictions I've been in
in other states, a simple verbal request is all
that is required in order to get police reports.

What makes Iron County so special?

Bill Vajk

Friday, November 13, 2009

Correction

This is just an update from a recent posting.

It was reported by IrobCountyDoings that Iron
County commissioners had adopted a resolution
to sell a piece of real property in Goegebic
County, and authorize ANY member of the EDC
to execute the conveyance on behalf of Iron
County.

(Editor's Note: Ben Smith's earlier report
stated, "The commissioners did select EDC
director Julie Melchoiri to sign the
documents." In as much as this seems to
be in error, IronCountyDoings hereby
corrects that statement herein and offers
appropriate apologies for any errors.
Additionally it appears Mr. Smith misspelled
the name.)

This reporter was accosted by the director
of the Iron County EDC during The Iron River
City council meeting. Claiming she received
NO such authority and that Michigan State
University (MSU, who pays her salary) would
not allow her to do such a thing. According
to the county minutes of THAT meeting
commissioner George Brunswick moved,
supported by Carl Lind "Authorizing Sale
and Execution of sale documents" of a piece
of real property in Bessemer, Mi, and
authorizes any member of the Iron County
EDC to execute the conveyance.

The EDC director claimed this reporter
lied and threatened LEGAL Action. Years
ago this reporter had been accosted by
the county chair with a similar charge and
with the same effect.

Ben Smith has the documents and will gladly
share them with any interested citizen.

Ben Smith

(Editor's Note: Strangely enough, at the time
of this posting, I have not received any emails
of protest or request for correction from
Mrs. Julie Melchiori. Had she done so, the
nasty scene at Iron River City Hall could
easily have been avoided had she wished.
Obviously she has either read the previous
report or has had someone provide her with
its contents. Mrs. Melchioiri has multiple
email addresses and physical street addresses
for the editor.)

Bill Vajk

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Trailer

Iron River Township has some ordinances about
signs, so I have placed a trailer near the
highway in front of my house (US2.)

It will be illuminated during the early hours
of the night and will have political messages
and seasonal wishes displayed as suits me.



Bill Vajk

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Help with Medicines

November 10, 2009

The people of Iron County are being denied
the opportunity to participate in a National
Association of Counties (NCAO) discount drug
program. The county commissioners delayed
adopting the program, which would allow
the people of the county to join a drug
discount program. Commissioner Bob Black
has introduced the option over the course
of five (5) years according to commissioner
Geo. Brunswick at today's meeting.

The counties civil attorney Steven Tinti
presented the commissioners with HIS
opinion that joining would put the county
at risk of expenses emanating from the
guidelines of the program. This position
is being taken despite the fact that ten (10)
other counties in Michigan, including two
of the most populated and wealthiest, namely
Oakland and Macomb are members.

In other matters Tinti pointed out that he
was the county commissioners civil attorney
and not the attorney for the chair, when it
was pointed out that Trusts as executed on
real property managed by the chair, are not
eligible to receive PRE, Principal Residence
Exemptions.

There will be more coming later on these matters.

Ben Smith, Iron County Doings

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yet Another Secret Transaction?

Ben Smith has filed the following story:

Iron County disposed of a piece of real
property in Geogebic County,Mi. The
property was sold through the Silver
Company that is located in Geogebic
County , Mi.

No evidence was found that the Iron County
Chair had sought bids from local realtors.

The motion to sell was made at a county
commissioners meeting on Oct.27,2009 with
NO discussion as to bids or price!
The commissioners did select EDC director
Julie Melchoiri to sign the documents.

(Editor comment: It all sounds illegal. Has
the commission selected Julie as the fall
guy in the event there are eventual legal
problems with this transaction?)

The selling price WAS NOT disclosed at the
commissioners meeting, however the your
reporter has learned that the sale generated
$19,000.00 gross, less of course commissions
etc.

More will be reported on this matter as we
investigate and uncover the reasons for all
the secrecy.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Is Afghanistan Politically Ahead of Iron River?

Afghanistan had a recent presidential election.
neither of the two leading candidates got over
50% of the total. A run-off election was
ordered that did not happen because one of the
candidates publicly withdrew just before the
scheduled date.

In this feature, is Afghanistan politically
ahead of Iron River?

Consider the recent election in Iron River's
3rd district with the prize being a city
councilman's seat. Tom King got 7 votes out
of 18 that yields about 38% of the actual
voters. The other two candidates achieved a
total of 13 votes, far more than King and
amounting to roughly 62% of the vote.

Iron River is willing to put a man in office
who was voted against by nearly 2/3 of the
voters.

Is that any way for government to do business?

Afghanistan doesn't think so. Ordinary
democratic principals don't think so. And
I sure don't think so either. How do you
feel about it? If you don't like it,
why not do something to get this changed?

Bill Vajk

Iron County Niceness

While there are incessant complaints
on these pages, I want the readers to
realize that there are good things
about Iron County. If you want to know
some of them, please read the Iron
Mountain Daily news

www.ironmountaindailynews.com

or the Iron County Reporter.

www.ironcountyreporter.com

Neither paper delves into any of the
corruption or "dirt" in the area for
fear of losing advertising revenue
but they're really good at putting
the positive spin about our region
out there for public consumption.

I should probably repeat this posting
every month.

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2009 Iron River election

The voters of Iron River have seen fit to
elect Tom King to the third district. It
seems that Rosalie King found 6 friends in
the 3rd District to vote for her son.

You, the electors of Iron River, deserve
who you got.

Bill Vajk

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Followers

I was "warned" not to cross John Faccin because,
according to those warning me, "he's quite
bright."

In his latest defense of Iron County Board of
Commissioners chair Rosalie King, Faccin wrote
on his IronCountyIndependent Yahoo discussion
group,

"Like I said in the posting I found it on the
Internet in a couple of minutes. Plus I even
posted the Homestead Tax Credit information
for you, the document and the affidavit."

Having read that information, I averr that
Mr. Faccin obviously has a reading and
comprehension problem, not a signal of
brilliance. I have never ever met a follower,
as John is following close to everyone in
positions of power in Iron County (another
oxymoron -- power in Iron County, ha ha ha)
who was bright. Indeed, followers are more
often dimwits than not.

Ayn Rand put it very well:

"Throughout the centuries there were men
who took first steps down new roads armed
with nothing but their own vision."

John Faccin is following in footsteps
designed to elevate the weak minded. He
hasn't an original thought of his own. That
doesn't mean he's not able to do damage to
others. The saddest part, however, is that
he'll forever be relegated to being a foot
soldier in the service of those who do
wield local power, such as it is. They do
it by making people like Faccin feel
important. That works soooooo well here
in Iron County.

It turns out that Rosalie King, in her
own right, is a follower too.

And so it goes (kudos to Linda Ellerbee.)

Bill Vajk

Thursday, October 29, 2009

About Obama

On the national and local front I urge readers to
take a look at one of my other web pages, reading,
in particular, the latest offering there.

http://world-discussion.blogspot.com/2009/10/obamas-campaign-promises.html

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

County Commission Mtg 10/27/2009 & disrespect

There will be more news of this meeting coming!

But this reporter wanted to get it on the record,
that when asked the county commissioners refused
to instruct their administrator to provide the
media with the background material to accurately
report why and how they voted on the issues that
come before them.!

Further this reporter was berated by the county
civil attorney for asking about the county chair's
PRE situation.

(Editor's note: Please see earlier articles about
the county chairman's cheating the children out
of their due in property taxes by claiming
exemptions on two properties when only 1 is
allowed by law.)


Stating that if I read the law I would find the
explanation for all the rumors that have
circulated for years.

(Editor's note: Mr. Smith and I have both
carefully read the law, and no exemption of
the sort claimed by County Attorney Tinti
exists.)


When I got to write this report I found a letter
from an information officer from the State of
Michigan treasury Department that cast more doubt
on Atty.Tinti's position.

Evidently from the little bit that went on at
the meeting today, the county is going to offer
an extension of contract to their administrator.
I hope it does not continue the sweetheart
conditions of the last one that lasted for
almost nine years.

Ben Smith

Friday, October 23, 2009

Out of Town

Going out of town for a couple of days serves
as a great reminder of how the rest of the
world lives.

Much of the real world lives buying things
on sale. Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009 Green Bay
paper has sales (in one section) of:

Oil change

Brake Work

potted trees

Amish furniture

Oneida National Museum

psychic readings (does Monica know you
have a coupon before you walk in?)

more furniture

groceries (yes, we do see this in Iron County)

women's fitness

credit union loans



Bill Vajk

Candidates for Iron River City Councilman

Fair use doctrine has us incorporating an
"IronCountyIndependent" posting as newsworthy
though one doubts the validity of anything
coming from an anonymously concealed member
of that group.

===================================================
From: shadow_man4243
Subject: [ironcountyindependent] UPCOMING ELECTIONS
To: ironcountyindependent@yahoogroups.com
Date: Friday, October 23, 2009, 7:41 AM

Scuttlebutt has it that Iron County Doings cub
reporter Ben Smith is running as a write in for
Iron River City Council from the 3rd district.
He is hoping to get more votes than Tom King
who the only one who filed for the position.
HHHMMM one can only wonder why Ben decided
to run on slips rather than file?

shadow
=====================================================

Who can say for sure what is in any other human
being's head? I don't know if Ben is running in
order to keep the election honest, or because
he is doing this on a lark. The reason doesn't
matter. Rather what matters is that this way,
Tom King isn't elected with a single vote, his
own.

Two matters of concern surface immediately.

There is the matter of conflict of interest. The
URL above is a discussion about conflicts
regarding a position on a school board and
being some other public official in the state
of Michigan. It is not significantly different
from the situation we're discussing.

Tom King is the Iron County dogcatcher. I would
be among the first to challenge Tom's status
as a city councilman. If Iron River actually
seated him, I would be among the first to give
a clear demonstration of the conflict of the
positions during a City Council public meeting.

And how is Mr. King going to find the time
during his busy schedule as dogcatcher to attend
the city council meetings? Is the Iron County
Sheriff's Department going to cover his position
during the times that King is in sessions, and
perhaps on downstate or out-of-state missions
for the City Council? Who is going to pay for
the Sheriff's department covering for King
during such periods?

Please see http://tinyurl.com/ykvjsh4

The second concern is of electing an individual
who is, in fact, homeless. Tom King lives in a
house that is provided for him by his mother. He
has no home of his own. Is the city of Iron River
going to follow the Iron River Township example
of having a homeless elected official making
decisions on behalf of an electorate when the
candidate himself is obviously incapable of
maintaining his own person and home well enough
to provide for himself?

The only legitimate means Tom King has to refute
the financial claim is to provide a financial
statement showing how he looks after himself.

Also consider this. This county has elected
Rosalie King to the County Board of Commissioners.
She has not been elected to the Iron River City
Council. If Tom King were his own man and weren't
dependent on his Mommy, there would be no question
that he might vote his conscience rather than
what ever way Mommy told him to vote.

I disagree with Ben Smith about a lot of things.
I'm conservative and Ben is a mostly liberal
Democrat though sometimes he surprises me. The
main thing you'd find about Ben on Iron River
City Council is that he would vote legitimately,
keeping faith with those who elected him, even
if that went against his personal ideologies.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Net Neutrality?

The promise of "Net Neutrality" under FCC regulation,
while promising the usual idealism, sounds far too
much like the standard government doublespeak we've
come to recognize as standard fare. Even if the
initial goals are as stated by various members of
the administration, it is clear that once government
asserts any control over the internet, government
will not be able to keep from making the internet
its private propaganda arm as the Obama campaign
used it during the last national elections.

The internet was founded and grew into its current
state without government intervention. It should
be allowed to continue, precisely as it has, until
or unless it starts to harm people.

Keep government out of the internet, except as a
user on equal footing with everyone else. Please
write to the FCC and your congressional
representatives. This is both a local and a
national issue.

Bill Vajk

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are They Really Acting Responsibly?

Nearly a year ago the West Iron School District
followed the procedures necessary to terminate
(fire) the Superintendent. In the past week
the Coty of Crystal Falls began their proceedings
to terminate the City Manager. Both of these
actions appear on the surface to be responsible
and could easily be taken as such.

The eventual outcome for the School District has,
to date, been disastrous because, in the opinion
of Iron County Doings, the School Board has not
acted responsibly. The correct next step has not
been taken. The School Board should have searched
for and found a strong administrator to take over
the position of Superintendent.

Look at the consequences. The School District decided
to close the "Middle School," a building completed and
dedicated February 22, 1928. In several acts, the
City of Iron River bullied the School District into
participating with a combination of participating
townships and the City in keeping the building open
and functioning. This is an additional financial
burden on the School District and all the participating
municipal governments.

This happened because the School Board appointed
a teacher, part time, to fill the position of
Superintendent. It is clear that the school district
has several other options regarding rthe Miffle School,
including simply closing the school, and minimizing
the costs to the community by means other than those
currently being bullied by the City of Iron River
and Iron River's elected and appointed officials.

If the City of Iron River wants to take over the
building, then the School District should insist
that the City purchase the property. It is
completely irratinal and ireresponsible for the
School District to remain responsible for the
Middle School once they decided they no longer
have any use for it.

The question that remains open for the City of
Crystal Falls is whether or not they will follow
in the West Iron School District's footsteps, thus
weakening their position. If they do, perhaps
Iron River will steal back the County Seat status
since the city has become so adept at bullying.

Bill Vajk

Monday, October 12, 2009

Respect Is An Important Aspect of Etiquette

Respect Is An Important Aspect of Etiquette.

A face I haven't seen in a while because the
satellite doesn't provide America's mainstream
networks is Deborah Norville, anchor on Inside
Edition. She has a new book, just out called
The Power of Respect.

From her web page: http://www.dnorville.com/

"As anchor of Inside Edition, I am on the front
lines of the events of the world and increasingly,
it seemed to me that so much of what we report
has its roots in disrespectful behavior. Often,
I find myself thinking, 'If people would just
'do' the right thing, we wouldn't have all the
problems.' But only on rare occasion does one
find people doing the right thing …because it's
right.

"But –– human nature being what it is, people
WILL act when they see 'what's in it for them.'
So – using the same formula I employed in Thank
You Power, I delved into the academic research
to see if anyone had found quantifiable benefits
from treating others with respect – or when one
received respect. I was stunned not only by what
I found, but by the breadth of respect's impact."

One thing Iron County politicians can claim a
lead in is disrespectful behavior. This sun
doesn't rise and set on elected politicians
alone, it extends to all those "rising stars"
who are presently in volunteer or appointed
positions. I needn't name names, you already
know who they are. Heaven forbid anyone hold
an opinion different from theirs, they lash
out like high school children, sometimes
openly, sometimes with whispering behind
your back.

On the other hand, Deborah Norville has
always carried herself well, and has always
provided better than the rest. She has no
difficulty achieving a universal admiration,
and respect. She would be an excellent model
for all to follow. She quotes George Elliot
as her inspiration:

"It’s never too late to become what you might
have been."

Please read her web page. All of it.

Bill Vajk

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not Uncommon

Iron County, Michigan, is not uncommon. It
is like many other small communities around
the world where the many permit the few
aggressive individuals to rule.

I wanted to do a piece on the Nobel Prizes
given what's happened this year with the
Peace Prize. The sensible commentaries are
everywhere already and I feel duplication
of those is unnecessary. Obama has come
clean about this one thing and said that
he didn't deserve the prize, leaving nothing
unspoken given the absurdity of that
situation.

But I thought to look at the rest of this
year's awards, and noticed the following in
the Literature award for this year:

"Müller made her debut with the collection
of short stories Niederungen (1982), which
was censored in Romania. Two years later,
she published the uncensored version in
Germany and, in the same year, Drückender
Tango in Romania. In these two works,
Müller depicts life in a small, German-
speaking village and the corruption,
intolerance and repression to be found
there."

http://tinyurl.com/yer4e7d

2009 literature award is made to Herta Müller.

The problem in Romania was fixed by the
overthrow of the totalitarian regime. What
will fix similar problems in Iron County?
Do we need to replace our entire political
structures and fill the positions with
people who have the community's interests
as their guide? Shouldn't we be doing that
anyway?

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Middle School

A special meeting if the Iron River city council
was called for and held on October 1, 2009.

West Iron County School is willing to participate
in the reuse of the Middle School. Currently the
special Middle School Committee consists of 17
individuals. Iron County Doings questions whether
or not this committee creates a "public body" as
envisioned by the Michigan Constitution and the
Freedom of Information Act.

Can a committee with a membership of 17 individuals,
all with their own areas of interests, create a
successful "Authority" to own and manage the Middle
School. A six page Authority Agreement to be signed
by one official from each municipal government and
the school district was provided.

Although the Iron County Economic Development
Corporation (EDC) is currently a party to the
planning and it is Iron County Doings understanding
the the actual rentals and management of the property
will be the responsibility of the EDC, the EDC has no
responsibilities outlined in the agreement presently
being addressed. Furthermore, while there was some
discussion about Iron River's Downtown Development
Authority (DDA) paying the bulk of Iron River's share
of the anticipated expenses, the DDA is not a
signatory for this document. And the DDA has no
elected officials, nor has the DDA ever sent a
student to the Middle School.

The agreement does not yet work for the school
district. When an approved agreement is available
we will publish it for you.

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who Is In Charge of the Henhouse?

That local governments in Iron County, Michigan, are
corrupt is the responsibility of three distinct groups,
the politicians themselves, the public, and "the media."

So far as the media goes there are several varieties
here, the same as exits everywhere in the US. We
have a TV station WLUC, Marquette. We have a
radio station, WIKB both AM and FM. We have two
newspapers, Iron Mountain Daily News and the
Iron County Reporter.

And then we have the internet. Presently there are
three outlets. Two are discussion groups based on
Yahoo, and there is Iron County Doings, that you are
reading presently. Iron County Doings is a serial
electronic publication registered as such with the
Library of Congress.

This discussion has as its basis the failure of any
of the airwaves based media and the two newspapers
to report Ben Smith's discovery that the chair of the
Iron County Board of Commissioners has placed
herself above the law and is violating it in plain sight.
The problem, as I see it, is that those reporting on
the community have a vested interest in it. They're
part of the system they're reporting about, a really
bad problem. It is no different from putting the fox
in charge of security at the henhouse.

Jay Barry retired from managing WIKB today. He
sang the praises of John Archocosky on the air
today. John is the City Manager for Iron River, and
is a mover and shaker in other aspects of the
community. The position that Jay should have held
is that of a skeptic, not a supporter of the power
elite, the oligarchy, that is running Iron County. One
wonders just what it is that Jay Barry will be doing
during his retirement years. It is an unfortunate
fact that he has ingratiated himself to the people
in power during the 45 years he's been involved
with WIKB. He'd have provided a far better service
to the community had he held those in power at
arm's length as he was instructed, by former owners
of WIKB, to do.

What we have, going on in Iron County, is a serious
and significant illegal act by the chair of the Board
of Commissioners, and the failure of the local
media, save this arm of it, to provide the public with
a report of it places the entire community in jeopardy.
In effect the media is supporting the illegality of the
acts, thereby supporting corruption of our local
government. If such a clear violation of the laws is
ignored, what about more sophisticated corruption?

Bill Vajk

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Arguing With Idiots"

Arguing with Idiots, yes, that's the title of
Glenn Beck's new book. I haven't read it, or
bought it, but the title seemed so appropriate
for this particular report submitted by Ben
Smith regarding the Iron County Board meeting
of September 22, 2009.

============================================

The meeting was called at the request of GAD
(Great American Disposal) to modify the Iron
County solid waste ordinance. Three executives
of the company presented their reasons for the
changes, which boiled down to allow them to
make more money.

They stated that they were the predominate
waste processor in Iron County. However they
did not state that they had bid for the business
in Iron County under the existing ordnance !

The commissioners presented oral reports of
the various meetings they had attended. The
commissioners mentioned their opinions
concerning what had transpired at the
meeting , no mentioned their impact on the
people of Iron County.

There was no effort made to explain the various,
reasons that they had attended the meetings,
and the cost and mileage for their attending

This site proposes that all members of the
Iron County Board of Commissioners submit
written reports of their meetings and the
cost to the county for their attending !

In other matters brought up to the board
was the fact that Bruce Tusa had refused
a citizens request to call the Crystal
Falls fire dept. to a fire in his barn !

He outlined the fact that the West Iron
County Fire Dept. had sent two trucks to
the fire and that one had gone off the
road and into a ditch and never reached
the fire site.

The Amasa Fire Dept. sent a truck and it
ran out of water after a short attempt to
extinguish the fire.

His request to the board for assistance
to prevent a similar situation from
arising, was met with rejection, due to
the fact that they claimed NO jurisdiction!

Other matters brought to the attention of
the commissioners was the fact that the
County Chair claimed Principal residence
exemptions on two homes she owns according
to Iron County Registrar of Deeds Office.

In reply she told this reporter the he has
been researching this matter for a long time
and that he should contact the State of
Michigan's Treasury Dept.

Also at the chairs request the CIVIL atty.
paid by the people of Iron County, stated
that there were many reasons for not
recording items with the registrar of deeds,
and that this reporter should contact the
Michigan Treasury with the facts outlined
by him. And get their opinion, it was at
this point that this reporter stated that
he had contacted the treasury dept. and
been told that they would investigate!

But due to privacy concerns would not
discuss the matter until they completed
the fact finding!

This reporter will continue to monitor
this matter.

Ben Smith

=============================================

It would seem to me that the Chair for the county
BOC would present Mr. Smith with the chapter and
verse under which the exemption is claimed, should
there actually be a valid claim by Rosalie King
for the dual exemption.

The facts, as presented to the readers by this
publication indicate that Mrs. King is in clear
violation of the statutes, and the county's
civil attorney has expended public funds in making
the statement reported above.In the meantime, Mr.
Smith appears to have been arguing with idiots.

IronCountyDoings looks forward to reading the minutes
of the meeting.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Need Photos

I'm looking for photos of individuals presently
members of the various boards and councils
around Iron County, Michigan. Either email me
a photo or let me know the URL of any on the
internet.

Thanks in advance.

Bill Vajk

In The Meanwhile

Back in Illinois there is an organization called
Citizen's Utility Board (CUB) that is looking
out for utility frauds missed by the state organs
who are supposed to provide that function and
don't unless they're running for office as Mike
Cox, our republican attorney general is (running
for governor and making a big splash) at the
moment.

We badly need something like this in Michigan.
What follows is bits and pieces of a recent
mailing I got from them.

===============================================

Help CUB fight for a $287 million Nicor refund

In this decade alone, CUB has uncovered two
scandals involving Chicago-area gas companies.
A few years back Peoples Gas gave its customers
a record $100 million refund after CUB accused
the company of improper dealings with an affiliate
of Enron.

And now, we’re locked in battle with Nicor Gas to
win a $287 million refund for its customers. We
can see the light at the end of the tunnel—but
we need your help to get there.

Nicor, which made $119.5 million last year, is
fighting us every step of the way. Please give
to our consumer defense fund now, so we can beat
Nicor’s army of lawyers and give customers the
big refund they deserve.

[...]

Nancy won’t soon forget CUB’s recent Carbondale
phone clinic. We discovered that for nearly a
decade she had been paying for a maintenance
plan on a second phone line—a second phone
line that didn’t exist!

Thanks to CUB, Nancy got a $660 credit! She was
“astounded,” but for CUB it was just another
day at the office. With your help over the last
25 years, we’ve fought rate hikes and spotted
billing errors, such as the one that plagued
Nancy, to help save consumers more than
$10 billion.

Now, facing unprecedented confusion in the phone
market and nearly $1 billion in rate-hike cases,
we need your help more than ever. Please help us
continue to deliver on our promise to help cut
telephone, natural gas, and electric bills for
all Illinois consumers. And tell your friends
about CUB too.

=================================================

By the way, we have the same phone company here
in Michigan as they have over in Illinois. The
purpose of posting this information is to show
that not only is corruption just about universal,
but so is incompetence.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Recovery Looks Like

We are supposed to be recovering from what is
called by some to be the worse depression/recession
since 1939. A couple of things have come to the
surface as a result.

One of my windows to what's happening outside of the
Iron County area is through an organization called
The Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association (CSDA.)

In the current issue of their journal, the president
of the association (Douglas H. Walker) reports that
instead of prices for work coming in 10 to 15% over
the engineer's estimates, work is actually being
completed some 20% below those estimates. What this
means is significant competition among contractors,
driving the prices down.

What this means to our local economy is that incomes
for those of our residents working out of state will
decrease in the near future. The repercussions are
yet to be determined. Will it become advantageous for
some of those people to stay at home, with the families
collecting welfare instead of an income?

Similarly, with the world wide drop in automobile
production, China has found itself in a position of
having excess capacity for the manufacture of tires.
Because they dropped their prices in an attempt to
increase sales, the the executive branch of the US
Government (Obama et troupe) announced and has
implemented a tariff on those tires. This old fashioned
protectionism, pure and simple. But it neglects the
fact that we depend heavily on China as a money lender
and trading partner.

It is the US tire manufacturers that decided to move
their operations off shore. Obama's three year tariff
seeks to more than double the price during that period.
So if you are going to replace the tires on any of your
vehicles, you have till the 19th of September to take
action. Prices will jump by at least 1/3.

This looks to be the first of many tariffs imposed
by the Obama administration. So much for the promise
made and repeated by Obama that those who earn less
than $250,000 a year will see no tax increases. The
beginnings of the redistribution of wealth hurts the
poor much more than the rich. You can bet you'll see
a tremendous increase in the price of used tires at
John's in Caspien, and on Telephone Time.

So we're faced with the prospects of decreasing
incomes and increasing costs, just as the case
was for the entire eastern block from the end of
WW2 till about 1990. If you're on a fixed income,
as I am, you'll be a bit better off for a while,
till social security, medicare and military health
care, are also effectively cut.

Our future, including for those folks still
working, looks more than a little bleak. The
really bad news hasn't hit yet. I'd be very
happy to have to retract these dire predictions
by being wrong.

Bill Vajk

Monday, September 14, 2009

If You're In Business You'd Better Know The Rules

So here in Iron County, Michigan, is an old
fashioned country store called "The Outpost."
It is designed to suit the rural needs of some
of the local population.

However.

Once inside, one is finally faced with a sign
that tells the customer that nothing less than
$10 in purchases may be charged to a credit
card.

Here's the basic rule of business. You let the
customer know of any special or unusual rules
before a purchase is made. I bought 2
gallons of gas and premixed it for chain saws
and the like, so I couldn't return it. There
was no sign outside at the pumps. In short,
I was stuck paying cash for 2 gallons of gas
I'd have gotten for a whole lot less had I
had to pay cash in town, and I had a choice
in the matter there.

The reasons for The Outpost taking this measure
is of no consequence. The fact that they either
don't know the rules, or don't care about them,
is all that matters.

I'm tired of playing with local amateurs making
believe they're business people. I'll drive by
The Outpost in future; they'll have no more of
my business under any circumstance. It isn't
as though they had much from me to start with,
but they can look forward to none at all from
me in future.


Bill Vajk

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is Jehmu Greene a Pinhead?

I have my opinion on the matter, you can make your
own decisions after you read what she has written
and the things she's said:

"The Director of Athena Montessori Academy is a
close friend, and when needed I have been thrilled
to serve as a substitute teacher for her adorable
students. Throughout the day toddlers learn that
yelling, screaming, and making threats are not
socially acceptable ways of dealing with conflict.
Problem solving, conflict resolution, and critical
thinking are at the core of Montessori teachings.
On the surface it may seem simplistic, but it
actually takes courage to initiate conflict
resolution and see it through. Cambridge Police
Officer Jim Crowley, Harvard Professor Henry
Louis Gates, activists, bloggers, and commentators
could all learn from the problem solving lessons
designed for three year-olds. It cannot be denied
that the world would be a better place if adults
learned to communicate more intentionally, instead
of reacting out of emotion. "

There's plenty more at:

http://www.jehmugreene.typepad.com/

Jehmu talks a good line, but completely misses the
boat. The universe does not revolve around her, it
doesn't revolve around Barack Obama, and it doesn't
revolve around the Democratic Party. And quite
honestly I'm more than a little disgusted at being
dismissed, by the likes of her, as a lemming. Consider
who is following blindly here?

It is those who buy lock, stock, and barrel into any
program that is being sold by the Obama administration
without an actual bill being promoted as the final
set of facts. This is the same way that Obama was
elected. No facts have been presented, only lots of
laudable promises without the first bit of substance
backing them up.

Why would I want the leave a country to successive
generations that can never be bought out of debt?

It was the genius of Armund Hammer that saved the
Russians in the early Soviet empire from a premature
bankruptcy, and early failure. We have, in the Obama
administration, with Pelosi et troupe a willing
participant, in short term bankruptcy. We, as a nation,
have empowered a group of politicians with no vision
of nationhood and absolutely no understanding of the
financial repercussions of the paths they are eager,
as ideologues, to follow. Obama and Pelosi et troupe
have no vision beyond their programs. They have a belief
that once their programs (health care and cap and trade)
are in place, the finances will work themselves out.

Oh gee, who else believed that a Ponzi scheme would
outlive him? Oh yes, it was Bernie Madioff. In the
end there's no difference between the combination of
Pelosi, Obama, and Greene, and the Madoff schemes.

And finally, why does anyone with a good head on their
shoulders think that in order to relieve the gap that
those who are unemployed, or who work in jobs paying
minimum wages and thus unable to purchase health
insurance, requires that the US Government take over
and run all health insurance in our country?

In my opinion, a good education is easily wasted on an
individual who is handicapped, based on birthplace
and social considerations. Please take the time to read
Jehmu Greene's biography at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehmu_Greene

Then, if you believe in Obama's promises, look at your
own.

Lemming? Who is the real lemming in the current plot?

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mom & Pop Businesses in Iron River

I drove down Genesee street on Labor Day,
September 7, 2009. I observed one place
of business open and ready to provide
service to people, that was the Main
Street Cafe. Everything else was closed.

These are the people who all year long,
especially in mid-winter, are crying on
the radio with "support your local
merchants." But they are only there for
us, and for tourists, when they wish to
be. If being in business is an inconvenience
to them, they close whenever the whim and
will strikes.

Take a clue, mom & pop business, if you're
closed because it is convenient for you
to take a day off, you're making what in
many parts of the US is called "a fashion
statement." You're not in business to do
business, you're just making believe. I
have no respect for your investment in
time and money, you're there as a hobby
shop.

That brings me to E&E hardware, next door
to Angeli's supermarket. When I asked about
something not ordinarily stocked, the
manager literally shut down and refused to
check a catalog to see if it was available
through his wholesaler. Now there's a
hobby shop in spades. I've NEVER EVER
had such a thing happen anywhere else. It was
a very simple "I'm sorry, I can't help you."
The usual reply is to work to make the sale,
but that doesn't happen at E&E. This is a
hobby shop in spades. I won't waste my time
on them because they are there for convenient
sales only. I'll always reward the merchant who
goes that extra bit, the merchant who wants to
make the hard sale, because I'll keep coming
back for the easy ones.

Downtown Iron River was the ghost town that
the future promises because of the way the
merchants are behaving. If you actually were
open as a matter of routine, your sales would
eventually increase.

I went over to the Riverside Mall and
discovered that all the businesses were
alive and well, doing a heavier than the
usual Monday trade. Similarly, the business
street in Eagle River was busy with last
minute shoppers, stopping off to buy that
trinket that's been bothering them all
summer long.

But not in Iron River!

You reap what you sow.

Bill Vajk

Monday, September 7, 2009

Local Democrats Are Unaware

Local democrats are blindly following the national
party without realizing that the agenda has shifted
so far to the left as to be unrecognizable. The
overall picture has to be seen by each individual
because no one, so far, put the agenda into a
system that is recognizable. And in many ways,
those who believe in the "Democratic Party uber
alles" aren't going to care, thinking that whatever
the party decides must be OK.

Cap & Trade

is the first program leading to a government takeover
of the energy industry. Taxes will rise so much on
power generation that electricity consumption will
become unaffordable over minimum consumption. How
the government intends to take advantage of this
"difficulty" remains to be seen. This bill leads
to a direct tax payable across the board,
affecting economic bottom rungs far more than
the upper rungs. Obama promised not to add to the
tax burden of those making less than $250,000 a
year. This tax will impact us, the average joes,
much more than anyone else because it will take
a proportionally larger part of our income than
it will the rich.

The bulk of the auto American based industry, that
is GM and Chrysler, are already under significant
US Government control. Evidence: The US Government
forced the replacement of GM's CEO.

The Card Check Bill

forces a public system of voting for or against
union participation at your workplace. The entire
idea is to force unionization, and through the
unions, control of all workers, just as the Soviet
Union's system of "the worker's party" functioned
for decades. The Democratic Party is already working
in concert with the workers unions. See the net
effect of the Chrysler and GM takeovers. The bond
holders, who laid out hard cash, took a major
"haircut" while union members whose total investment
in the company was their lunchbox, especially the
retired ones, did not.

Local supporters of the Democratic Party better
wake up and realize what is underway in Washington.
Take your party back. We need you a viable party.
You're headed into eventual oblivion because
you've allowed Communists to take over your
party and agenda.

Bill Vajk

Is Rosalie King, Chair of the County Board, Cheating?

Rosalie King, Chair of the Board of Commissioners
for the Iron County Board, owns, according to the
official record, 2 pieces of property in Iron
County.

She lives at 6 Berkshire. She is claiming a 100%
Homeowner's Principal Residence Exemption for this
property.

Her son Tom, the Animal Control Officer for the
County, lives at 221 Ruby. This property is also
owned by Rosalie King, and is also claimed at a
100% Homeowner's Principal Residence Exemption
although it is owned by Rosalie.

Obviously Rosalie cannot have two places of primary
residence at the same time. I can't do it, and you
can't do this.

Is Rosalie King cheating the tax man, that is to
say, the West Iron School District?

For the documents, click 6_berkshire

and


221_ruby

The credit for this story, including all the research,
goes to Ben Smith.

Bill Vajk

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Getting Caught Up

I have been out of town for a few days. Now
I have to get caught up. Here are the
highlights of the stories that will be
covered in the next few days:

1) Iron County and the City of Iron River
have met to iron out issues related to tax
monies that the county has withheld. A task
force of 2 members of the County Board are
to meet with 2 members of the Iron River
City Council in order to hammer out a
solution without either body having a
"public meeting" in order to do this work
behind closed doors. This flies in the
face of government transparency and it is
a kick, by both groups, to the head of
all citizens. The sad fact is that the
bodies will, without a doubt, engage in
a "constructive quorum" by serial phone
calls after the off book meetings
thereby violating the laws regulating
these meetings.

It is an also an unfortunate state of
affairs that Ben Smith, intrepid reporter
for Ironcountydoings, was the only reporter
at this special meeting reported earlier by
our publication. The county has refused to
recognize Mr. Smith as a credentialed
reporter as yet. The county will receive
a letter discussing such matters from our
office later in the week.

2) This business with Rosalie King claiming
two properties as her primary residence for
the purposes of PRE tax exemption will be
fully documented.

3) I will present a limited discussion about
the Van Jones appointment and resignation as
"Green Jobs Czar". The national problems of
inattention remarkably resemble the local
ones.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Iron County - Iron River Tax Flap, Page 2

As we reported earlier, Iron County has withheld
collected taxes from the Cities of Caspian and
Iron River.

The Iron County Board of Commissioners sent a
letter over the Chair's signature (Rosalie A
King) advising several Iron River officials
that the County Board has scheduled a special
meeting to discuss TIF fund issues with the
city of Iron River on September 1, 2009, and
9:00 AM at their usual meeting place in the
courthouse in Crystal Falls.

This impromptu announcement by the county board
brought a responding letter from the city manager
John Archocosky advising the county board that
pertinent city personnel will be unable to attend
because of prior scheduling commitments and that
if the county board would like to meet with city
representatives the city requests someone coordinate
a time that makes it possible for those invited to
attend the meeting.

These two documents are available for your review
by clicking here

Bill Vajk

Message to Mike Cox on His Candidacy

Mike Cox is running for governor of
Michigan. Too bad, really. I sent him
the following message on September 24th,
2009.

=====================================

You have refused to involve yourself in
local government imposing illegal charges
on residents in the UP. The Readiness to
Serve tax disguised as a fee has spread
to virtually every community without a
whimper from your office. Iron River's
"nuisance" ordinance copies a state law
that you have permitted to continue to
stand where a municipality is, by statute,
authorized by the legislature to ignore
Michigan and Federal Constitutional
requirements for providing notice before
acting. I am a life-long Republican, but
I cannot support your candidacy based on
your ongoing ignoring of these issues
that allows local governments to take
money out of my pocket illegally.

I am not simply a single voice. I intend
to actively work against your candidacy
despite my conservatism. You can carry on
about 2nd Amendment issues all you want,
because that will not trump your failure to
fully support the rest of the Constitution.
It is a significant error to ignore voices
like mine.

Bill Vajk

Florence County Leading The Way?

Perhaps when Michigan State University
appoints a new Extension Service Director
(due soon) to the Iron County office,
things like Florence County does routinely
can become 4H or other organizational
youth projects over here on the Michigan
side of the border.

It there's to be an east-west contest in
Iron County Michigan, wouldn't it be better
to have it be with someone, like Florence
County, who is presently leading the way?

Bill Vajk

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yes, dammit, they are actually pulling the plug on Grandpa

(I have published this story elsewhere as well.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yes, dammit, they are actually pulling the plug on Grandpa.

And it isn't the first time either.

When my father died in 1980 I wasn't prepared to be fatherless,
and I was fortunate to meet Alex Zelchenko who became a truly
remarkable friend as well as something of a surrogate father.
Alex lives on Lincoln Avenue, in Chicago.

When Alex was 90 years old, he had some neurological problems
along with gall bladder difficulties. They discovered that he
had some sort of growth in his lung, and another in his brain.
They took care of the gall bladder with an endoscopic extraction
of some gallstones. Alex refused regular abdominal surgery
because his own father had unexpectedly died during an
identical gall bladder surgery. He was ready to fight to live.
But when it came to the tumors, the medical profession and
Medicare wrote him off. Effectively they pulled the plug. They
refused to do anything, even to follow through and properly
diagnose what those growths were, and sent him home to meet
whatever fate befell him without diagnosis let along any medical
intervention.

Now Alex is 95 years old. He has moments of "normalcy"
and longer periods of old age dementia. Or is it? What would
his quality of life be had they diagnosed that growth in his
brain growth and treated it?

In the meantime he had a brain aneurysm that his wife insisted
must be treated. But his wife is now hospitalized with her own
issues, and a dysfunctional family created such a stink with
infighting among themselves that the court appointed not only
a guardian ad litem but also a medical guardian for Alex and
his wife, Phyllis, who is somewhat younger than Alex.

Alex had a series of neurological symptoms about a week ago.
The medical guardian, appointed by the Illinois courts, said sure,
admit him for diagnosis.

They found a brain tumor again, and a growth in his lung, but they
can't be bothered even to compare the growths to the records of
5 years ago, when they wrote him off the last time.

Who would have thought Alex would survive another 5 years? And
who would have thought he'd actually be able to enjoy those 5 years
in relatively good health for most of that period. Last time it was
the doctors who refused to go further with diagnosis and
treatment, this time, to our collective social shame, it is the state.

Son Gregory, who has an interest (with a degree in) biology and
health asked to look at the films. The court appointed medical
guardian said, "I'm not going to permit you to play doctor."

Why? Are power and control issues more important than doing
the best for Alex? And here I thought a medical guardian is
supposed to stand in the person's shoes, making decisions
for them, without any other considerations! An advocate. Isn't
this medical guardian supposed to be an advocate?

Oh. No. It is because the medical guardian has pulled the plug
on Alex because he's 95 years old and he's supposed to be
dead already. Who the hell is the medical guardian working for
anyway? Perhaps it is inconvenient to the state that Alex is
still alive? Is that the problem? Is that why they are withholding
diagnosis and treatment, now for a second time?

What kind of quality of life can a 95 year old have? Perhaps
the state doesn't consider it worth our time. Alex worked well
past retirement age, and paid into the system much more than
his fair share.

But he's 95 years old, and there's no one, with authority, looking
out for him in his old age.

Folks, this is your future, unless you fix the problem. It doesn't
matter what President Obama says. When the moment of decision
comes, they will pull the plug on Grandma, just like they're doing to
Alex. And some day it will be you.

Bill Vajk

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Talking the Talk Without Walking the Walk

I attended most of the "Americans for Freedom"
meeting at Bates Township Hall this evening.
Unfortunately the arthritis in my neck flared
up (it has been doing that, I have a surgical
consult scheduled in September) and I was forced,
by pain, to leave before the Q&A period at the end.
I look forward to hearing what went on from someone
who stayed to the end.

That being said, I have a few comments to make.

The main speaker ended up being Dan Stafford,
former Iron River Township treasurer, addressing
many of the problems we, the citizens, are
presently experiencing with the political bunch
in Washington. He made a couple of comments that
hit home with anyone who was paying attention
to "how things really work."

Dan addressed his problem of having a really bad
upset stomach before the Township Board meetings
because he knew there was always going to be a
fight.

He went on to discuss how the politicians at the
federal level aren't looking out for citizens'
interests but have their own agenda.

I guess it was not obvious to Dan that the reason
why he was having all those fights at the Iron
River Township Board meetings was because he was
not doing what the electorate wanted him to do!

I stopped attending the meetings (I was attending
them when I first moved to Iron County) because I
considered the fights to be inane, and the board
was, in my opinion, unresponsive. I knew that
all that could and would happen was that I would
lose my temper to no avail.

One of Dan's points during his speech to the
assembled group was that we need a reduction in
the size and scope of the federal government.

Let's take a look at the Township Board's
performance during the period he was the
treasurer.

Here's the unreserved fund balance reported
for the period:

2004 $ 844,729
2005 862.478
2006 918,397
2007 1,015,357
2008 1,157,425

Stafford did not run for re-election in
the November 2008 election. But the fund
continues to grow.

June 30,2009 1,167,622

This is all with an increase in taxes of 2 mils
that the township has tried, in two elections,
to get renewed, with a threat that they would
continue to place this on every ballot till it
gets passed. AND along with this was a
significant increase in the water bill for all
who are being thus served.

And then the current board has the audacity to
refuse to make repairs to a Township owned
building, Beechwood Hall, asking the voters
to approve an additional tax to make needed
repairs. This is the sort of irresponsibility
that will lead to demolition of a perfectly
useful facility after it becomes a blight,
because of personal bias by board members
against the use of this building by west end
Beechwood residents.

In the end, it is apparent that Dan Stafford
preaches a different story from the one that
he himself lives. It is different from the
personal agenda he imposed on Township
residents while he held political office. He
talks the talk, but he does not walk the walk.

As they say in Brooklyn, "So what else is new?"

That's not to say that what Dan said didn't make
good sense, it did. I find it sad that even
while knowing what "should be," he was unable to
deliver it.

This, unfortunately, seems to be the general case
in politics today.

Bill Vajk

A Symptom

Why do you suppose it is that Iron County
has no "Welcome Wagon?"

Bill Vajk

Thursday, August 13, 2009

WE Energies - Requested Rate Increases

There's only one word for this.

Wrongheaded.

We live in a capitalistic society. That means
that a firm trying to do business in this society
has shareholders who invest money in the basics
that constitute that business. Goods,
infrastructure, payroll, and whatever else is
necessary in any given instance. And sales are
designed to include profit, yielding the basic
reason for shareholder investment in the first
place.

The decision to invest in a new huge power
generating plant has a number of elements
driving the decision whether to build such a
facility or not.

First, is there either growth in demand for power
that will justify the investment based on increasing
sales? Or, the other justification, has the existing
infrastructure gotten so old that replacement is a
necessary expenditure?

Based on these two, the analysis either justifies
shareholder investment, or it does not.

WE Energies appears to have latched on to some other
criteria as justification to build a new power plant,
but cannot justify it under the only criteria that
makes any economic sense. So they now approach the
Public Service Commission in order to increase
utility rates to pay for a new power plant that is
an investment not available through the shareholders.

As an electrical energy consumer in the region served
by WE Energies I have a couple of very simple questions
to ask.

1) What am I getting in return for increased rates?

The answer is, nothing.

2) If I am paying for this generating power plant, where
is my return on the investment?

The answer is, it doesn't exist. This rate increase is
nothing more than a bottomless pit wanting to be filled.

WE Energies recommends their customers make changes to
power consumption habits in order to reduce our monthly
costs. But, if successfully implemented, what that results
in eventually is an overall reduction in consumption with
an accompanying request from WE Energies for another rate
increase in order to maintain former profit levels.

This request is nonsensical. The management and
shareholders want to increase production capacity
without increasing sales and to reach into customer
pockets to pay for this excess capacity that we
will not be utilizing.

Here's the hook you're looking for.

Once this excess capacity is available, WE Energies
will likely sell that power to other regions of the
country at lower rates than we are paying because
we are subsidizing the excess capacity. It will
likely be resold at retail through unregulated
utility companies where profit is not reportable
to any state regulatory agency, making this a scam
worthy of a Bernie Madoff.

I urge the Wisconsin and Michigan regulatory agencies
to thoroughly investigate interlocking boards of
directors between WE Energies and unregulated
electrical power providing utilities in other
states.

In the meantime, I urge the Michigan Public Service
Commission to deny the rate increases requested for
the addition of this coal fired generating facility
by WE Energies.

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nationalization, don't be fooled by the silence

Despite all the pretty words wrapped around the
so called bailout of General Motors and Chrysler,
the simple fact is that they have become
nationalized. Such a move was unthinkable in any
time period in United States history other than
right now.

Imagine.

Nationalized.

That's a word that is reserved to communism and
communist nations, not democracies.

OK, that's done.

At the present moment, most of the residents of
United States are strongly engaged in the
arguments over nationalizing health care. That's
right, nationalizing.

First they try to sell the idea of a single payer
insurance system, that being the US government.
But in the end, as reimbursement for services is
cut, the only way to have a health care system at
all is to take over the day to day operation of
the whole thing. That means the US government will
end up owing and operating every doctor's office,
every hospital, and every lab. Nationalized with
the US government, that is all of us, their
employers.

The system that has to result from the government
running the insurance end of the medical business
will end up looking like the failed eastern European
health care branches of government.

One has to take pause for a moment and ask, "why
copy a failed system?"

It is a matter of power and control. The USA has
no direct experience with communism and socialism,
so it appears we, as a people, are going to be
forced to taste it.

Eastern Europe had a really difficult time with
democratization, including getting rid of nationalized
health care. Our stupid American communists continue
to believe in the righteousness of that system, and
those who don't recognize the government takeover
of the nation's means of production, and health care,
and shortly energy (using cap and trade) are dupes
and fools.

Republicans have failed the nation. Democrats are on
the verge of doing so.

Political theory holds that there is a predictable
sequence on the types of governance for any given
nation. Beginning with monarchy, that evolves into
democracy. Eventually socialism, then communism
takes root, and if at all possible, anarchy, until
a strong man grabs power as a dictator.

It looks like we're going to skip past socialism
quickly enough and head straight into communism. I
wonder how fast the US will cycle through before
we get back to democracy once again and, most
important of all, will 200+ years of successful
history have any effect at all? This bunch in the
white house and congress are completely ignoring
history.

Those of you depending on veteran's benefits for
health care, how long do you think that's going to
stay in effect once the government takes over health
care? One nation, one people, one health care system.
It has to happen. Don't be fooled by the silence.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Michigan Municipal League - Page 2

Please take a look at the Michigan Municipal League (MML)
advocacy page at:

http://capwiz.com/mml/issues/bills/?state=MI

There are all sorts of issues that concern municipalities
as well as plenty that don't. Take, for example, SB 986

SB 986
Bill #: SB986
Year: 2007

Bill Summary:

"Bridges that are properly funded first are the
fractured critical bridges. All other bridges
will be put at the bottom of the list."

The MML opposes this bill, a bill that places
public safety before political and financial
considerations. Here is clear evidence that MML
is placing municipal interests above those of the
public the cities, and ultimately they, are
supposed to be serving.

They also oppose SB 1434:

SB 1434
Bill #: SB1434
Year: 2008

Bill Summary:

** Pending Board Approval

"States there would be no driver's license fee
if a person is at 125% poverty level."

What difference does it make to MML and the cities
if whether the state charges our poorest citizens
for a driver's license or gives it to them free?
Doesn't having a driver's license give a poor person
a better chance of getting a job?

It appears that despite their claim to being a
non-profit organization, the MML has been violating
IRS rules by being highly an active political lobbyist
organization.

Bill Vajk

July 2009 Iron River Documents - Comment

I received an email with ideas regarding the
article on this subject and it is worth some
discussion. The sender asked that their name not
be used, and so it is not. This article is an
opinion piece and offered as opinions offered
by individuals.

Next, email, with my comments following:

=========================================================

Hello Bill,

No surprise with the resolution on the middle school.
Past history bears out how the school district Iron
River, Stambaugh and now maybe West Iron disposed of
its no longer needed property. The Central School
being the latest and the Lincoln School before.

The Lincoln School was sold to a private individual
who stripped it what he wanted and then was left for
years in disrepair until he was told to raze the
structure or the city would. He razed the building
and left the rubble were you see it now if you drive
by.

The Central School was sold to a prominent individual
who with his sons used it for storage and also stripped
it for their needs. He sold to a (descriptive deleted)
in IR who could not keep it in repair and the city
picked it up and you know the story from there.

As for Nelson field, the schools (Stambaugh and Iron
River) and now West Iron never had a field of their
own and relied on Stambaugh and now Iron River to rent
them Nelson. I do believe West Iron is the only school
district not to have their own football field etc. The
city as in the Managers' report has been waiving or
reducing the rent for a number of years. Now that the
city wants to have the full cost of the rent restored,
the school is calling FOUL.. I do believe they should
pay or no play.

Interesting doc on delinquent tax payment and who or
whom might be trying to retain some money because of
their shortfall. The shortfall being speculation on
my part and the county being in the need of cash to
pay bills??

Yours,


(signature withheld by request)


PS I would prefer that my name not be made known.

Thanks

===========================================================

Several of us discussing this as we phone one
another or meet about town have a problem with
the city's resolution as a form of an attempted
restraint imposed by one taxing unit of local
government upon another at the same political
level.

The history above has no bearing on future acts.
We must assume that the West Iron school boards
of the past and their administrations acted in
good faith. No one can ask more than that. The
subsequent history of the former Lincoln and
Central schools is not the responsibility of
the school board, past or present.

The only thing I'm aware of that has liability
reverting to the last known responsible party
is, for some quirky reason, a ladder.

If the City of Iron River is so very concerned
about the Middle School building, then the
hands on responsibly preventive mechanism would
be for the City to procure the property themselves
and see to its disposition as they see fit. I
understand there's an amount of money in the
School District's budget for one year's
maintenance.

If the city takes the building over and cannot,
within some predetermined time frame, find a
suitable owner/tenant then the city will have
some funds available, from the maintenance fund,
towards tearing the building down and holding
the property, a prime commercial site, for future
sale for use once the local economy improves. Or
sell it now at a small price to a land speculator
and start to immediately collect property taxes.

We're talking about an 80 year old building with
all the problems that age entails. I understand
that presently the roof needs repair or replace-
ment. That's not an inexpensive item on a multi-
story building of this size.

There is a sense, repeated to me by others, that
if a reliable purchaser cannot be found promptly,
the building should be demolished.

Bill Vajk

What's Wrong with Iron River 090706 - Part 3

email received August 5, 2009
======================================================
Subject: Rodeo banner
From: "John Archocosky"
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 10:25:16 -0500
To:


Good morning Bill,

After receiving your memo of the posting you published
on July 6th, regarding the rodeo banner, I have been
noticing how other communities mount their banners.

I’ve attached a photo that I took last Saturday evening
as I was passing through Florence. Please excuse the
quality as it was taken with a cell phone camera. This
one particularly caught my attention as you used it as
a good example when you complained about Iron River’s
rodeo banner.

Thanks,

John

John A. Archocosky, Manager
City of Iron River







=======================================================

Reply:

Dear John,

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

You weren't supposed to see that.

best regards

Bill

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July 2009 Iron River Documents

Associate Editor Ben Smith brought in four
City of Iron documents issued in July of 2009
that are, for various reasons, worthy of
notice by citizens and voters. The first of
them is a resolution for which I visited
City Hall and got a signed copy to publish.

The documents explain themselves however as
a general question that comes to my mind because
I have my own ongoing disputes with the city,
why is it that these days the City of Iron River
seems to have a beef with just about everyone?

Here's the link to the documents:

www.angelfire.com/planet/iron-river/0907ir-docs.pdf

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

About Michigan Taxes - Do Your Part!

Addendum note: There are a few people reported
to have gotten stuck in this article. To read
more of this blog, please click:

ironcountydoings




"Local Option Taxes" is the name given to a
new movement overrunning the USA like an
unstoppable tsunami. In Michigan, promoted
in a activist fashion by the Michigan Municipal
League (MML), it threatens to undo the will of
the voters as expressed in Proposition A and
the Headlee Amendment.

Looking closely at the MML agendas and conduct,
it becomes apparent that the organization has,
for some time, been pitting municipal interests
against the people that municipalities are
supposed to be serving. The "American Way"
holds all government subservient to the will
and needs of the people. MML has lost sight of
the essential mission of government, elevating
municipal interests above yours.

Even worse, the Michigan Municipal League is
supported by membership fees paid by our cities.
That's tax dollars funding an organization that
has absolutely no oversight. That's tax dollars
funding an organization that has been working
against the interests of the taxpayers who are,
without any say in what is being done in their
name, supporting an MML that's working against
all of us.

It is time to completely reorganize the MML, or
to dissolve it as an un-American organization.
Please insist that your local government withdraw
from membership, and don't take no for an answer.
Make your voice heard before further damage is
done. Please tell your state and local
legislators that you won't stand for gutting the
only laws standing between you and runaway
property taxes. Michigan residents fought this
tax war before and won. Why should we have to
fight the same war all over again? Take a firm
stand and don't let anyone change your mind, or
change the laws about taxation in Michigan. Just
remember, it is your pocket they're reaching
into, and they'll spend your money with nothing
to show. Don't weaken!

Bill Vajk, Iron River, MI

Monday, July 27, 2009

Michigan Municipal League

I became aware of the Michigan Municipal League
some time back and read a few things about them
on their web page without doing any real analysis
about their mission or what they are really about.

In the current news is an issue about taxes and
the basic paradigms relating to how local
governments are funded and operated. A different
approach called Local Option Taxes
is rearing its head in most of our 50 states
at the moment. Michigan Municipal League is right
there with the suggestion that the legislature
should restructure both the Headlee Amendment
and Proposition A in order to eliminate the caps
placed on taxes.

In short Michigan Municipal League is working
against the interests of the citizens of this state
in an attempt to grow larger government at every
level in the state of Michigan!


Here's the worse part of this. Municipalities join
the MML and pay their membership out of funds
provided by taxpayers, the very same taxpayers that
the Michigan Municipal League is working against.
The Michigan Municipal League provides support in
favor of municipalities that find themselves in any
sort of difficulty.

Ask yourself, what sort of difficulties can a
municipality encounter? The Only difficulty
is when the municipality enforces its own interests
instead of those of a taxpayer, or a group of
taxpayers.

Gee whiz! Isn't government supposed to be for and
by the people? Where did this against the people
stuff come from? Who allowed this, the MML, to
happen? Who was asleep at the switch?

Wake up, people!

Please read the entire web site:


http://www.mml.org/home.html

and especially:

http://www.mml.org/thenews/2009_07_22-gongwer.pdf


The people of this state won the tax war once. Why
do we have to fight the same war again?

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Truthful Reporting

I've grown weary of the perky (all chime in now)
"everything is wonderful" op-ed pieces in the
Iron County Reporter mixed in with the occasional
"wicked citizens challenge government employees
by submitting FOIA requests" diatribes from Ms.
Volek, the publisher.

In this week's episode, the op-ed reports that
despite the economy collapsing in the rest of
the country, things are progressing in Iron
County, a probable exception to the rule.

She closes out her piece with, "By moving
proactively, Iron County has a good chance of
coming out of this economic slump, downturn,
recession--whatever it's being called--strong
and future oriented. With the support of the
community, we'll keep on kicking, despite."
The last pep rally I attended was in high
school. By college they weren't mandatory. I
hate being subjected to them again.

Ms Volek, I hasten to point out that the
Titanic sank despite the orchestra playing
till the final moments. Berlin fell to the
allies despite high society attending the
Berlin Opera in the final days of the
European war. And Iron County? Will baseless
positive stories make a real difference?

The answer is no.

The Reporter's income seems to me to be
shrinking. If The Reporter wants to improve
its financial situation by increasing paid
circulation it needs only a small paradigm
shift in the stories that are published. If
The Reporter actually reported all the news
in the county, most especially printing (as I
first heard a complaint about this rag) "the
dirt," then I think that circulation would
increase three to four fold over the present
sales and it would afford a real service to
the community. It isn't as though the region
wouldn't be well served by honesty for a
change.

This blog, with limited resources, is
attempting to fill that gap.

Bill Vajk

P.S. I started out wanting to write this piece
in a humorous mode. Unfortunately there's nothing
funny about the situation. I'll do humor soon.

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